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Operational strategies for offshore wind turbines to mitigate failure rate uncertainty on operational costs and revenue

Dinwoodie, Iain Allan and McMillan, David (2014) Operational strategies for offshore wind turbines to mitigate failure rate uncertainty on operational costs and revenue. IET Renewable Power Generation, 8 (4). 359–366. ISSN 1752-1416

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Several operational strategies for offshore wind farms have been established and explored in order to improve understanding of operational costs with a focus on heavy lift vessel strategies. Additionally, an investigation into the uncertainty surrounding failure behaviour has been performed identifying the robustness of different strategies. Four operational strategies were considered: fix on fail, batch repair, annual charter and purchase. A range of failure rates have been explored identifying the key cost drivers and under which circumstances an operator would choose to adopt them. When failures are low, the fix on fail and batch strategies perform best and allow flexibility of operating strategy. When failures are high, purchase becomes optimal and is least sensitive to increasing failure rate. Late life failure distributions based on mechanical and electrical components behaviour have been explored. Increased operating costs because of wear-out failures have been quantified. An increase in minor failures principally increase lost revenue costs and can be mitigated by deploying increased maintenance resources. An increase in larger failures primarily increases vessel and repair costs. Adopting a purchase strategy can negate the vessel cost increase; however, significant cost increases are still observed. Maintenance actions requiring the use of heavy lift vessels, currently drive train components and blades are identified as critical for proactive maintenance to minimise overall maintenance costs.